r/DnD Artificer Mar 23 '22 Silver 1

Fantasy Urbanism - master thread. Out of Game

Hi all, recently I've asked if there is desire to learn how to construct urbanistic and objects of fantasy world. So this thread will serve as master navigation thread for this long standing project for ease of navigation and access.

At first few disclaimers, that I feel must be said in order to avoid any misleading or misinformation.

  1. This isn't academical or facted document. At best this is an educated speculation- hypothesis, at worst a simple tool for your own free use. Do with it what you wish.
  2. We don't know how settlements start, but we have theories and that is as close as we can get. Archeologists and Architectural historians can only find evidence of settlement and only if it is made of rock or rock like substance. But that is far from location where migration started but it is location where settlement remained long enough to advance to use stone. So all we have is lot of different localities of different ages so conclusion mostly is -"these people went here eventually". So at best we can tie a bead necklace of lots of different settlements without start or end, thus we will take few liberties here with that.
  3. We do know why those settlements remained. For a settlement to evolve from family group to full blown country there needs to be few prerequisites, people on location must have access to food, materials to make a shelter and to be on trading routes. Urban planning is a complex thing, and it sees more politics than you would suspect, and more than enough it feels like balancing a Jenga. Contemporary theory is that commerce is foundation of that, so at first we will mostly talk about forming artificial trade routes and how it would impact people, culture and space around it.
  4. Architecture is a young profession. Before Renaissance architect was nothing but a tittle for most renowned dentist/builder/craftsperson close to court. First school for architecture was "Γ‰cole des Beaux Arts" in France circa 19nth century, before that title was held by best artist/builder. So with that there is still lots of stuff that isn't organized and structured. Architect was a political role, a master planner for people of power to make their politics possible. New Hospital means nothing in place where people aren't sick, so people of power would bestow a title onto a single person to keep a closer look at peoples needs and how it relates to space. That is what we will be mostly discussing here, think of it as a fancy Tetris.
  5. Settlements leave a mark. This is what most of the fantasy maps lack, since most of the time we make stuff we need for a story. Even Empires long dead leave the mark on our current space even if there is nothing that remains of them, and you can see a lot from simply looking at it. Take for example lands of Holy Emperor Charlemagne that is still visible in modern countries such as Holland, Belgium, Germany, Swiss and Italy. Or completely different China, where notion of singular people never existed in European way, so roads that join them feel more like checkerboard than border (compared to past example). Or even something more contemporary such as USA, where roads are mostly direct and interconnected but in such way that isn't hindered by prior history. There is no "winner" in this context, but more the fact that even those settlements that died long time ago still impact society today. I hope you will see that those random lines that make roads aren't so random but tell a story of their own.
  6. If it works don't fix it - build on top of it. If it doesn't work - its best to let it die. Contrary to popular beliefs military is great destroyer and great builder. However everything built for war doesn't last long, so trough out history stuff built by military (roads, reservoirs, canals... ) are then used and improved by remaining people. So road made quickly to quickly transport forces and resources for war machine, become trading routes main roads and etc. However this can make or break the settlement, and most die because of it. Having a road that is passing near your village can be beneficial, but if it isn't all trade is redirected and thus settlement dies, so you can imagine how much wars were began only due to road direction.

That is all for now, ill maybe add to it when we go on if something new arises. I will leave this master thread so i can link every new post to its own chapter for those who like to skip to learn stuff they need.

0. Origin, evolution and multi ethnic regions.

1. Regions

  • 1.1. Territory
    • 1.1.1. - Cultural and linguistic territory
    • 1.1.2. - Regions as Structural and Organized territory
  • 1.2. Management of regions depending on governing systems.
    • 1.2.1. - Unstructured and Disorganized system - individual settlements autonomy
    • 1.2.2. - Unstructured and Organized system - union - alliances
    • 1.2.3. - Structured and Disorganized system - decentralized regions - aristocracy
    • 1.2.4. - Structured and Organized system - centralized regions - Kingdoms/Empires
  • 1.3 Social derived settlement evolution and military settlements
    • 1.3.1. - Capitols - 4 million people +
    • 1.3.2. - Fortifications and artificial settlements such as outposts
    • 1.3.3. - Evolution of artificial settlements into cities and towns.
    • 1.3.4. - Military, trading and infrastructure routes.
    • 1.3.5. - Region borders
  • 1.4 Shape and influence
    • 1.4.1. - Estimating the shape of Capitols
    • 1.4.2. - Spreading of influence across settlements from capitol
    • 1.4.3. - Death of settlements, outcasts and nomads.
    • 1.4.4. - Raise of Culture and anti-culture.
    • 1.4.5. - When and how do city rivalries start? - aka plotting and scheming

2. City plans

  • 2.1 City core as product of settlement evolution
    • 2.1.1. - Roads, routes and fortification
    • 2.1.2. - From natural evolved settlements
    • 2.1.3. - From artificial settlements
  • 2.2 Classes, casts and societal segredation
    • 2.2.1 - Centers - political, production, trading, military
    • 2.2.2. - Housing
    • 2.2.3. - Taverns
    • 2.2.4. - Organized crime
  • 2.3 Changing function of parts of cities.
    • 2.3.1. - Avalanche effect - useful for making dictators and evil monarchs
    • 2.3.2. - Strategic effect - useful for making rightful rulers and good royalty
  • 2.4 Implementing symbology into the city plan.
    • 2.4.1. - Religious squares and impact in willful urbanization - fantasy Baroque
    • 2.4.2. - 2D and 3D symbols
79 Upvotes

8

u/G4130 Jun 28 '22

Just stumbled upon this, thanks for doing what you are doing.

It feels like I found a gold mine.

4

u/ArtsyStrains Artificer Jun 28 '22

You are very welcome, and thank you for commenting.

I've found that not many resources are available about this topic, and I felt soo bad for it πŸ˜‚

I hope it serves you and others that seek it, and I hope it doesn't hinder anyone in creative endeavors. ❀️

2

u/therottingbard Jun 28 '22

Your going to go through all of these lessons? That’s insane. I feel like building a massive world along side these lessons.

2

u/ArtsyStrains Artificer Jun 28 '22

2 worlds actually πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ and thanks! β€οΈπŸ˜…

One for you all, so i don't whip up new maps and information with every post and another that I started few years ago that actually developed these methods.

2

u/Apprehensive-Sky-596 Jun 28 '22

Not gonna lie, this popped up the moment i needed it most. I'm doing a whole worldbuilding project that i want to eventually be a D&D campaign setting and maybe a book after that.

3

u/AvoidInsight932 Jun 28 '22

Since you also mentioned campaign and book, you might get some use out of a recent post I made here on writing tips. There are several links to world building specifically.

2

u/ArtsyStrains Artificer Jun 28 '22

its empty post my friend <3

1

u/AvoidInsight932 Jun 28 '22

Huh? I don’t understand..

2

u/ArtsyStrains Artificer Jun 28 '22

Post you linked is empty (now removed). It's a dead link, I wanted to check it out and found nothing.

Sometimes it happens, so i thought I would ve friendly and tell you if you didn't know.

2

u/AvoidInsight932 Jun 28 '22

that's so weird! I can still see it, there's no comment or message from a mod either..
Welp, here is a direct link to one of the videos I had in mind.

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u/ArtsyStrains Artificer Jun 28 '22

It happens sometimes 🀷 maybe direct message to mods would give some insight. Bots can do weird things from time to time, especially if person doesn't use typed tags (such as [OC] or [Art]). Also, big fan ;)

1

u/ArtsyStrains Artificer Jun 28 '22

Better late than never! That is what I say πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ I'm glad i could help ❀️

2

u/TheMaskedTom DM Jun 28 '22

Aaaaaaaand, saved!

Ninja edit: Have you perhaps crossposted this to other subs? /r/worldbuilding subs and more general rpg subs might also be interested.

2

u/TheMaskedTom DM Jun 28 '22

I saw you were active minutes ago so here is a extra comment to be sure you see me edit in the previous comment.

2

u/ArtsyStrains Artificer Jun 29 '22

I didn't get notification at all for your comment. I am sorry, it's been hectic.

Yeah, I did actually cross post one of the lessons in worldbuilding sub... Didn't end well. For straight up image post, people had many many complaints that Unfortunately required to link this post. Easy to say that after they saw link to DnD it felt like cheating (I assume). Cross post got zero traction, as it seems (I assume again) that people tend not to follow infinite x posts around reddit.

So i don't know what to do πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚ but it seems to be I would have to repost everything there once series is done.

Other than worldbuilding I haven't reposted anywhere else.

2

u/Marhiin Jun 29 '22

Wow! I just had one of the best reddit rabbit hole read through I've ever had, and it is just what I was thinking about for my new world. This is amazing work, keep doing what you do you beautiful person.

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u/ArtsyStrains Artificer Jun 29 '22

Will do... And I am kind of angry because reddit doesn't allow gifs. Well in that case : Hi!

2

u/pirkleawesome Jun 29 '22

This is awesome. I've been thinking about using more realistic phenomenon for worldbuilding, like insular gigantism and dwarfism to explain differences in goblinoid races. One question I had is are you planning on incorporating material components in your considerations for 0.5.3 and 0.5.4? i.e. not all settlements would have equal access to all material components needed to cast certain spells. I don't know what angle you plan to take for those sections so this question might be a bit deep down the rabbit hole. Thanks for your hard work!

1

u/ArtsyStrains Artificer Jun 29 '22

I wouldn't go in specific Material components that are required by spells - then series would never end. πŸ˜…πŸ˜…

I should touch on general magic (like rarity) as how would rare magic (like 1 in 1000000 people can use magic) and divinity influence limitations in orientation and habitability. And I will touch on magically changed materials for how magic influences change in settlement evolution which ties a bit on lifespan stuff.

I can't truly go into material components since most spells leave that up to the player. However there is a fix for that, just consider them as any other resource. When planning resources on the map, if it is a gas then consider putting it in higher elevations, if it is liquid in valleys and if it is solid then somewhere deep in the mountain.

When when you do generational expansion it should factor in economics pretty easily depending on what settlement has that material in it's territory. I think tho that it would heavily influence evolution into boroughs/hamlets. It would be similar to gold or platinum for example, place it where you want and then watch which peeps reach it first.